Maritime law encompasses a wide range of issues, including insurance claims relating to ships and cargo, civil disputes between shipowners, seamen and passengers, piracy, and the registration, licensing, inspection and shipping contracts of ships. In the United States, maritime cases are generally brought in admiralty courts where there is no right to jury trial. However, the 1920 Jones Act grants seamen the right to a jury trial in their suits against their employers. In general, most maritime law cases are derived from international treaties and conventions, although they may also be based on customs of the sea or on the practices of seafarers.
A key principle of maritime law is that there is admiralty jurisdiction over all navigable waters. This extends to lakes, rivers and other bodies of water whether natural or artificial.
It is possible for maritime accidents to occur on artificial waterways. This includes jackup rigs and other offshore structures. Maritime accidents can be caused by a variety of factors, such as mechanical failure, human error or negligence. In such cases, it is essential that victims of maritime accidents seek legal assistance as soon as possible to ensure they have a strong case against the responsible party.
Whether or not an accident falls within the scope of admiralty jurisdiction is determined by an objective assessment of the circumstances of each case. The court’s analysis of the case must take into account the nature of the accident, and if possible, its effects on the lives of those involved in the incident. It must also consider the impact on the surrounding environment.